South Lanarkshire Conservatives slam SNP move to rush-through care facility closures without proper scrutiny

CONSERVATIVE councillors slammed South Lanarkshire’s minority SNP administration after it tried to rush-through plans to close four local care homes.

The opposition Tories blasted the Nationalists’ decision to bring forward a proposal to transform transitional care provision as ‘urgent business’ – notifying other parties only the evening before a morning meeting of the Social Work Resources Committee.

With the meeting scheduled for 10am Wednesday (25 April) it meant councillors had virtually no time to consider the plans.

If approved four of South Lanarkshire’s eight residential care homes would shut. Those earmarked for closure were Canderavon House and McClymont House in Clydesdale, as well as Kirkton House in Blantyre and McWhirters House in Larkhall.

In their place, a single facility in Blantyre and another in Clydedsdale would include rooms where adults transitioning from hospital would receive care before returning to their own homes.

In the face of overwhelming opposition the SNP administration made a last minute U-turn and withdrew the proposals, conceding that they would instead be put on the agenda before the committee next meets.

Leader of the opposition Conservative Group, Councillor Alex Allison, said: “We recognise the need to reduce bed-blocking in hospitals and allow people to get back to their homes.

“There is nothing worse than relatives having to travel for hours every day to visit and support their loved ones, so it is crucial we find local solutions.

“That is something that cannot be done without proper consideration.”

He added: “Councillors of all parties should have time to study the proposals, hear from their constituents, raise questions and properly scrutinise the plans, so that ultimately the right decisions are made.

“This matter affects the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents. It is too important to be rushed through and it would be utterly wrong for any administration to try to do so.

“South Lanarkshire has a minority SNP administration that claims to be committed to transparency and openness, but that simply doesn’t fit with bringing forward such significant proposals only the night before a committee meets.

“We could never consider such an important matter under those circumstances, so it is right they backed down and will now allow proper scrutiny.”